An Orthodox Church Building - Internal Arrangement

As we enter the church, we find ourselves in Narthex (Vestibule; Lity--Greek; Pritvor.)

The main body of the church is the Nave, separated from the Sanctuary (Altar) by an icon screen with doors, called the Iconostasis (Icon stand). The walls of the Nave are decorated with Icons and murals, before many of which are hanging lit lamps (lampadas).

Especially noticeable in traditional Orthodox churches is the absence of any pews. The Fathers of the Church deemed it disrespectful for anyone to sit during the Divine services (except at certain explicit moments of instruction or Psalm reading) and the open spaces were seen to be especially conducive to the many bows and prostrations typical of Orthodox worship.

At the extreme Eastern end of the church is found the Altar (or Sanctuary), with two rooms--the Sacristy and the Vestry--at either side, separated from the Nave by the Iconostasis.

Address of our Cathedral

  • 4001 17th St. N.W.,
  • Washington, D.C., 20011

Phone  (202) 726-3000




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